Skip main navigation

Importance of increasing the level of thinking

Chris discusses the need for work to increase in cognitive demand and mentions the range of taxonomies that can be drawn upon.
When students work in classrooms where collaborative learning is encouraged then differentiation becomes easier. All students in the class will be working on the same topic area, but by providing activities with a range of cognitive demands, students can work at their own level of understanding. While some students might be asked to recall or explain or apply ideas within the topic, others can be encouraged to predict or synthesize or critique. Schemata like Bloom’s or SOLO can be useful for teachers in planning these types of activities. By organizing the class so that students can share their thinking through dialogue means that all students can benefit from this.

Chris discusses the need for work to become more challenging and mentions how taxonomies such as Bloom’s and SOLO can be drawn upon to support developing work that increases in terms of cognitive demand.

The Bloom’s and SOLO taxonomies illustrated in the video are also shown below. Further information on both Bloom’s and SOLO can be found using the links at the bottom of this step.

Bloom's Taxonomy

SOLO Taxonomy


There are many different ways you can use schemata like Bloom’s and SOLO to support differentiated learning. How have you used these taxonomies already in your teaching?
If you are new to Bloom’s or SOLO, consider how you could use these or other taxonomies to increase the cognitive demand of the work and how you would organise your classroom so that students can collaborate to share their thinking.
Suggest one or two approaches in the comments below.
This article is from the free online

Differentiation for Learning

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education